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See detailGARP: a key receptor controlling FOXP3 in human regulatory T cells
Probst-Kepper, M.; Geffers, R.; Kröger, A. et al

in Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (2009), 13(9B), 3343-57

Recent evidence suggests that regulatory pathways might control sustained high levels of FOXP3 in regulatory CD4(+)CD25(hi) T (T(reg)) cells. Based on transcriptional profiling of ex vivo activated T(reg ... [more ▼]

Recent evidence suggests that regulatory pathways might control sustained high levels of FOXP3 in regulatory CD4(+)CD25(hi) T (T(reg)) cells. Based on transcriptional profiling of ex vivo activated T(reg) and helper CD4(+)CD25(-) T (T(h)) cells we have identified GARP (glycoprotein-A repetitions predominant), LGALS3 (lectin, galactoside-binding, soluble, 3) and LGMN (legumain) as novel genes implicated in human T(reg) cell function, which are induced upon T-cell receptor stimulation. Retroviral overexpression of GARP in antigen-specific T(h) cells leads to an efficient and stable re-programming of an effector T cell towards a regulatory T cell, which involves up-regulation of FOXP3, LGALS3, LGMN and other T(reg)-associated markers. In contrast, overexpression of LGALS3 and LGMN enhance FOXP3 and GARP expression, but only partially induced a regulatory phenotype. Lentiviral down-regulation of GARP in T(reg) cells significantly impaired the suppressor function and was associated with down-regulation of FOXP3. Moreover, down-regulation of FOXP3 resulted in similar phenotypic changes and down-regulation of GARP. This provides compelling evidence for a GARP-FOXP3 positive feedback loop and provides a rational molecular basis for the known difference between natural and transforming growth factor-beta induced T(reg) cells as we show here that the latter do not up-regulate GARP. In summary, we have identified GARP as a key receptor controlling FOXP3 in T(reg) cells following T-cell activation in a positive feedback loop assisted by LGALS3 and LGMN, which represents a promising new system for the therapeutic manipulation of T cells in human disease. [less ▲]

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See detailCommentaries on "Informatics and medicine: from molecules to populations".
Altman, R. B.; Balling, Rudi UL; Brinkley, J. F. et al

in Methods of Information in Medicine (2008), 47(4), 296-317

OBJECTIVE: To discuss interdisciplinary research and education in the context of informatics and medicine by commenting on the paper of Kuhn et al. "Informatics and Medicine: From Molecules to Populations ... [more ▼]

OBJECTIVE: To discuss interdisciplinary research and education in the context of informatics and medicine by commenting on the paper of Kuhn et al. "Informatics and Medicine: From Molecules to Populations". METHOD: Inviting an international group of experts in biomedical and health informatics and related disciplines to comment on this paper. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: The commentaries include a wide range of reasoned arguments and original position statements which, while strongly endorsing the educational needs identified by Kuhn et al., also point out fundamental challenges that are very specific to the unusual combination of scientific, technological, personal and social problems characterizing biomedical informatics. They point to the ultimate objectives of managing difficult human health problems, which are unlikely to yield to technological solutions alone. The psychological, societal, and environmental components of health and disease are emphasized by several of the commentators, setting the stage for further debate and constructive suggestions. [less ▲]

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See detailMolecular basis for skeletal variation: insights from developmental genetic studies in mice.
Kappen, C.; Neubuser, A.; Balling, Rudi UL et al

in Birth Defects Research. Part B, Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology (2007), 80(6), 425-50

Skeletal variations are common in humans, and potentially are caused by genetic as well as environmental factors. We here review molecular principles in skeletal development to develop a knowledge base of ... [more ▼]

Skeletal variations are common in humans, and potentially are caused by genetic as well as environmental factors. We here review molecular principles in skeletal development to develop a knowledge base of possible alterations that could explain variations in skeletal element number, shape or size. Environmental agents that induce variations, such as teratogens, likely interact with the molecular pathways that regulate skeletal development. [less ▲]

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See detailDynamic cumulative activity of transcription factors as a mechanism of quantitative gene regulation.
He, Feng UL; Buer, Jan; Zeng, An-Ping et al

in Genome Biology (2007), 8(9), 181

BACKGROUND: The regulation of genes in multicellular organisms is generally achieved through the combinatorial activity of different transcription factors. However, the quantitative mechanisms of how a ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: The regulation of genes in multicellular organisms is generally achieved through the combinatorial activity of different transcription factors. However, the quantitative mechanisms of how a combination of transcription factors controls the expression of their target genes remain unknown. RESULTS: By using the information on the yeast transcription network and high-resolution time-series data, the combinatorial expression profiles of regulators that best correlate with the expression of their target genes are identified. We demonstrate that a number of factors, particularly time-shifts among the different regulators as well as conversion efficiencies of transcription factor mRNAs into functional binding regulators, play a key role in the quantification of target gene expression. By quantifying and integrating these factors, we have found a highly significant correlation between the combinatorial time-series expression profile of regulators and their target gene expression in 67.1% of the 161 known yeast three-regulator motifs and in 32.9% of 544 two-regulator motifs. For network motifs involved in the cell cycle, these percentages are much higher. Furthermore, the results have been verified with a high consistency in a second independent set of time-series data. Additional support comes from the finding that a high percentage of motifs again show a significant correlation in time-series data from stress-response studies. CONCLUSION: Our data strongly support the concept that dynamic cumulative regulation is a major principle of quantitative transcriptional control. The proposed concept might also apply to other organisms and could be relevant for a wide range of biotechnological applications in which quantitative gene regulation plays a role. [less ▲]

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See detailFrom mouse genetics to systems biology.
Balling, Rudi UL

in Mammalian Genome (2007), 18(6-7), 383-8

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See detailSudden and unexpected.
Balling, Rudi UL

in Nature Genetics (2007), 39(12), 1422-3

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See detailPhenotyping of host-pathogen interactions in mice. In Standards of Mouse Model Phenotyping
Lengeling, A; Müller, W; Balling, Rudi UL

in Harbe de Angelis, M; Chambon, P; Brown, S (Eds.) Phenotyping of host-pathogen interactions in mice. In Standards of Mouse Model Phenotyping (2006)

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See detailEMPReSS: standardized phenotype screens for functional annotation of the mouse genome.
Brown, S D; Chambon, P; De Angelis, M H et al

in Nature Genetics (2005), (37), 1155

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See detail1alpha,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 is a potent suppressor of interferon gamma-mediated macrophage activation.
Helming, Laura; Bose, Jens; Ehrchen, Jan et al

in Blood (2005), 106(13), 4351-8

1alpha,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1alpha,25(OH)2D3), the activated vitamin D3 hormone, is a key regulator of calcium homeostasis and thereby indispensable for bone metabolism. In addition, 1alpha,25(OH)2D3 ... [more ▼]

1alpha,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1alpha,25(OH)2D3), the activated vitamin D3 hormone, is a key regulator of calcium homeostasis and thereby indispensable for bone metabolism. In addition, 1alpha,25(OH)2D3 is known to mediate predominantly immunosuppressive responses in vitro and in vivo. It has been demonstrated that macrophages can produce 1alpha,25(OH)2D3 on activation with interferon gamma (IFN-gamma), although little is understood about the biologic significance of this response. We show here that 1alpha,25(OH)2D3 can selectively suppress key effector functions of IFN-gamma-activated macrophages. Among these are the suppression of listericidal activity, the inhibition of phagocyte oxidase-mediated oxidative burst, and the suppression of important IFN-gamma-induced genes, including Ccl5, Cxcl10, Cxcl9, Irf2, Fcgr1, Fcgr3, and Tlr2. The deactivation of IFN-gamma-stimulated macrophages is dependent on a functional vitamin D receptor and 1alpha,25(OH)2D3 acts specifically on IFN-gamma-activated macrophages, whereas the steroid has no effects on resting macrophages. Therefore, the 1alpha,25(OH)2D3-mediated suppression of macrophage functions is distinct from previously described macrophage deactivation mechanisms. In conclusion, our data indicate that the production of 1alpha,25(OH)2D3 by IFN-gamma-stimulated macrophages might be an important negative feedback mechanism to control innate and inflammatory responses of activated macrophages. [less ▲]

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See detailThe European dimension for the mouse genome mutagenesis program.
Auwerx, Johan; Avner, Phil; Baldock, Richard et al

in Nature Genetics (2004), 36(9), 925-7

The European Mouse Mutagenesis Consortium is the European initiative contributing to the international effort on functional annotation of the mouse genome. Its objectives are to establish and integrate ... [more ▼]

The European Mouse Mutagenesis Consortium is the European initiative contributing to the international effort on functional annotation of the mouse genome. Its objectives are to establish and integrate mutagenesis platforms, gene expression resources, phenotyping units, storage and distribution centers and bioinformatics resources. The combined efforts will accelerate our understanding of gene function and of human health and disease. [less ▲]

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See detailReduced intragraft mRNA expression of matrix metalloproteinases Mmp3, Mmp12, Mmp13 and Adam8, and diminished transplant arteriosclerosis in Ccr5-deficient mice.
Luckow, Bruno; Joergensen, Joanne; Chilla, Silvia et al

in European Journal of Immunology (2004), 34(9), 2568-78

Experimental and human organ transplant studies suggest an important role for chemokine (C-C-motif) receptor-5 (CCR5) in the development of acute and chronic allograft rejection. Because early transplant ... [more ▼]

Experimental and human organ transplant studies suggest an important role for chemokine (C-C-motif) receptor-5 (CCR5) in the development of acute and chronic allograft rejection. Because early transplant damage can predispose allografts to chronic dysfunction, we sought to identify potential pathophysiologic mechanisms leading to allograft damage by using wild-type and Ccr5-deficient mice as recipients of fully MHC-mismatched heart and carotid-artery allografts. Gene expression in rejecting heart allografts was analyzed 2 and 6 days after transplantation using Affymetrix GeneChips. Microarray analysis led to identification of four metalloproteinase genes [matrix metalloproteinase (Mmp)3, Mmp12, Mmp13 and a disintegrin and metalloprotease domain (Adam)8] with significantly diminished intragraft mRNA expression in Ccr5-deficient mice at day 6. Accordingly, allografts from Ccr5-deficient mice showed less tissue remodeling and hence better preservation of the myocardial architecture compared with allografts from wild-type recipients. Moreover, survival of cardiac allografts was significantly increased in Ccr5-deficient mice. Carotid artery allografts from Ccr5-deficient recipients showed better tissue preservation, and significant reduction of neointima formation and CD3+ T cell infiltration. Ccr5 appears to play an important role in transplant-associated arteriosclerosis that may involve metalloproteinase-mediated vessel wall remodeling. We conclude that early tissue remodeling may be a critical feature in the predisposition of allografts to the development of chronic dysfunction. [less ▲]

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See detailMaintaining your immune system--one method for enhanced longevity.
Wollscheid-Lengeling, Evi; Muller, Rolf-Joachim; Balling, Rudi UL et al

in Science of Aging Knowledge Environment [=SAGE KE] (2004), 2004(1), 2

The immune system is an important evolutionary invention to battle invaders in young and old organisms. Successful aging in humans who achieve nonagenarian status and beyond depends on how the immune ... [more ▼]

The immune system is an important evolutionary invention to battle invaders in young and old organisms. Successful aging in humans who achieve nonagenarian status and beyond depends on how the immune system changes over time. Whether certain immune parameters vary with increased age is influenced by the genotype and lifestyle of the individual. [less ▲]

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See detailTargeted disruption of the peptide transporter Pept2 gene in mice defines its physiological role in the kidney.
Rubio-Aliaga, Isabel; Frey, Isabelle; Boll, Michael et al

in Molecular and Cellular Biology (2003), 23(9), 3247-52

The peptide transporter PEPT2 mediates the cellular uptake of di- and tripeptides and selected drugs by proton-substrate cotransport across the plasma membrane. PEPT2 was functionally identified initially ... [more ▼]

The peptide transporter PEPT2 mediates the cellular uptake of di- and tripeptides and selected drugs by proton-substrate cotransport across the plasma membrane. PEPT2 was functionally identified initially in the apical membrane of renal tubular cells but was later shown to be expressed in other tissues also. To investigate the physiological importance of PEPT2 and for a detailed analysis of the protein expression sites, we generated a Pept2 knockout mouse line in which the Pept2 gene was disrupted by insertion of a beta-galactosidase gene under the control of the PEPT2 promoter. The Pept2(-/-) mice showed no obvious phenotypic abnormalities but also no adaptive upregulation in the expression level of related genes in the kidney. The importance of PEPT2 in the reabsorption of filtered dipeptides was demonstrated in knockout animals by significantly reduced renal accumulation of a fluorophore-labeled and a radiolabeled dipeptide after in vivo administration of the tracers. This indicates that PEPT2 is the main system responsible for tubular reabsorption of peptide-bound amino acids, although this does not lead to major changes in renal excretion of protein or free amino acids. [less ▲]

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See detailPax1 and Pax9 activate Bapx1 to induce chondrogenic differentiation in the sclerotome.
Rodrigo, Isabel; Hill, Robert E.; Balling, Rudi UL et al

in Development (2003), 130(3), 473-82

We have previously shown that the paired-box transcription factors Pax1 and Pax9 synergistically act in the proper formation of the vertebral column. Nevertheless, downstream events of the Pax1/Pax9 ... [more ▼]

We have previously shown that the paired-box transcription factors Pax1 and Pax9 synergistically act in the proper formation of the vertebral column. Nevertheless, downstream events of the Pax1/Pax9 action and their target genes remain to be elucidated. We show, by analyzing Pax1;Pax9 double mutant mice, that expression of Bapx1 in the sclerotome requires the presence of Pax1 and Pax9, in a gene dose-dependent manner. By using a retroviral system to overexpress Pax1 in chick presomitic mesoderm explants, we show that Pax1 can substitute for Shh in inducing Bapx1 expression and in initiating chondrogenic differentiation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Pax1 and Pax9 can transactivate regulatory sequences in the Bapx1 promoter and that they physically interact with the Bapx1 promoter region. These results strongly suggest that Bapx1 is a direct target of Pax1 and Pax9. Together, we conclude that Pax1 and Pax9 are required and sufficient for the chondrogenic differentiation of sclerotomal cells. [less ▲]

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See detailMice, microbes and models of infection.
Buer, Jan; Balling, Rudi UL

in Nature Reviews. Genetics (2003), 4(3), 195-205

We urgently need animal models to study infectious disease. Mice are susceptible to a similar range of microbial infections as humans. Marked differences between inbred strains of mice in their response ... [more ▼]

We urgently need animal models to study infectious disease. Mice are susceptible to a similar range of microbial infections as humans. Marked differences between inbred strains of mice in their response to pathogen infection can be exploited to analyse the genetic basis of infections. In addition, the genetic tools that are available in the laboratory mouse, and new techniques to monitor the expression of bacterial genes in vivo, make it the principal experimental animal model for studying mechanisms of infection and immunity. [less ▲]

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See detailImpaired insulin secretory capacity in mice lacking a functional vitamin D receptor.
Zeitz, Ute; Weber, Karin; Soegiarto, Desi W. et al

in FASEB Journal (2003), 17(3), 509-11

It was the aim of this study to further explore the functional role of vitamin D in the endocrine pancreas. By gene targeting, we have recently generated mice in which a lacZ reporter gene is driven by ... [more ▼]

It was the aim of this study to further explore the functional role of vitamin D in the endocrine pancreas. By gene targeting, we have recently generated mice in which a lacZ reporter gene is driven by the endogenous vitamin D receptor (VDR) promoter. These mice express a functionally inactive mutant VDR. Pancreatic islets but not exocrine pancreas cells showed strong lacZ reporter gene expression in mutant mice. To rule out possible influences of hypocalcemia on pancreatic endocrine function, a rescue diet enriched with calcium, phosphorus, and lactose was fed to wild-type (WT) and VDR mutant mice. The rescue diet normalized body weight and mineral homeostasis in VDR mutants. In glucose tolerance tests, baseline blood glucose levels were unchanged in fasting VDR mutants. However, blood glucose was elevated after oral or subcutaneous glucose loading, and maximum serum insulin levels were reduced by approximately 60% in VDR mutants vs. WT mice on either diet. In addition, insulin mRNA levels were decreased in VDR mutant mice on both diets, whereas pancreatic beta cell mass, islet architecture, and islet neogenesis were normal. These findings clearly establish a molecular role of the vitamin D-responsive elements in pancreatic insulin synthesis and secretion in vivo. [less ▲]

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See detailDeletion of deoxyribonucleic acid binding domain of the vitamin D receptor abrogates genomic and nongenomic functions of vitamin D.
Erben, Reinhold G.; Soegiarto, Desi W.; Weber, Karin et al

in Molecular Endocrinology (2002), 16(7), 1524-37

The vitamin D hormone 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) [1,25-(OH)(2)D(3)], the biologically active form of vitamin D, is essential for an intact mineral metabolism. Using gene targeting, we sought to generate ... [more ▼]

The vitamin D hormone 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) [1,25-(OH)(2)D(3)], the biologically active form of vitamin D, is essential for an intact mineral metabolism. Using gene targeting, we sought to generate vitamin D receptor (VDR) null mutant mice carrying the reporter gene lacZ driven by the endogenous VDR promoter. Here we show that our gene-targeted mutant mice express a VDR with an intact hormone binding domain, but lacking the first zinc finger necessary for DNA binding. Expression of the lacZ reporter gene was widely distributed during embryogenesis and postnatally. Strong lacZ expression was found in bones, cartilage, intestine, kidney, skin, brain, heart, and parathyroid glands. Homozygous mice are a phenocopy of mice totally lacking the VDR protein and showed growth retardation, rickets, secondary hyperparathyroidism, and alopecia. Feeding of a diet high in calcium, phosphorus, and lactose normalized blood calcium and serum PTH levels, but revealed a profound renal calcium leak in normocalcemic homozygous mutants. When mice were treated with pharmacological doses of vitamin D metabolites, responses in skin, bone, intestine, parathyroid glands, and kidney were absent in homozygous mice, indicating that the mutant receptor is nonfunctioning and that vitamin D signaling pathways other than those mediated through the classical nuclear receptor are of minor physiological importance. Furthermore, rapid, nongenomic responses to 1,25-(OH)(2)D(3) in osteoblasts were abrogated in homozygous mice, supporting the conclusion that the classical VDR mediates the nongenomic actions of 1,25-(OH)(2)D(3). [less ▲]

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See detailBeethoven, a mouse model for dominant, progressive hearing loss DFNA36.
Vreugde, Sarah; Erven, Alexandra; Kros, Corne J. et al

in Nature Genetics (2002), 30(3), 257-8

Despite recent progress in identifying genes underlying deafness, there are still relatively few mouse models of specific forms of human deafness. Here we describe the phenotype of the Beethoven (Bth ... [more ▼]

Despite recent progress in identifying genes underlying deafness, there are still relatively few mouse models of specific forms of human deafness. Here we describe the phenotype of the Beethoven (Bth) mouse mutant and a missense mutation in Tmc1 (transmembrane cochlear-expressed gene 1). Progressive hearing loss (DFNA36) and profound congenital deafness (DFNB7/B11) are caused by dominant and recessive mutations of the human ortholog, TMC1 (ref. 1), for which Bth and deafness (dn) are mouse models, respectively. [less ▲]

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See detailV76D mutation in a conserved gD-crystallin region leads to dominant cataracts in mice.
Graw, Jochen; Loster, Jana; Soewarto, Dian et al

in Mammalian Genome (2002), 13(8), 452-5

During a large-scale ENU mutagenesis screen, a mouse mutant with a dominant cataract was detected and referred to as Aey4. Aim of this study was the morphological description of the mutant, the mapping of ... [more ▼]

During a large-scale ENU mutagenesis screen, a mouse mutant with a dominant cataract was detected and referred to as Aey4. Aim of this study was the morphological description of the mutant, the mapping of the mutation, and the characterization of the underlying molecular lesion. The slit-lamp examination revealed a strong nuclear cataract surrounded by a homogeneous milky opacity in the inner cortex. The histological analysis demonstrated remnants of cell nuclei throughout the entire lens. The mutation was mapped to Chromosome 1 by a genome-wide linkage making the six gamma-crystallin encoding genes and the closely linked betaA2-crystallin encoding gene to relevant candidate genes. Finally, a T-->A exchange in exon 2 of the gammaD-crystallin encoding gene (symbol: Crygd) was demonstrated to be causative for the cataract phenotype; this particular mutation is, therefore, referred to Crygo(Aey4). The alteration in codon 76 leads to an amino acid exchange of Val-->Asp. Val at this position is highly conserved; it is found in all mouse and rat gammaD/E/F-crystallins as well as in the human gammaA- and gammaD-crystallins. It may be replaced solely by Ile, which is present in all bovine gamma-crystallins, in the rat and mouse gammaA/B/C-crystallins, as well as in the human gammaB/C-crystallins. It is predicted that the exchange of a hydrophobic side chain by a polar and acidic one might influence the microenvironment by a dramatic decrease of the isoelectric point by 1.5 pH units in the 10 amino acids surrounding position 76. The Crygd(Aey4) additionally demonstrates the importance of the integrity of the Cryg gene cluster for lens transparency. [less ▲]

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See detailRespiratory mechanics in mice: strain and sex specific differences.
Schulz, H.; Johner, C.; Eder, G. et al

in Acta Physiologica Scandinavica (2002), 174(4), 367-75

To assess the contribution of genetic background to respiratory mechanics, we developed a ventilator unit to measure lung function parameters in the mouse. We studied two commonly used inbred mice strains ... [more ▼]

To assess the contribution of genetic background to respiratory mechanics, we developed a ventilator unit to measure lung function parameters in the mouse. We studied two commonly used inbred mice strains originating from Mus musculus domesticus (C57BL/6 and C3HeB/FeJ) and a third strain derived from Mus musculus molossinus [Japanese fancy mouse 1 (JF1)]. The ventilator allows for accurate performance of the different breathing manoeuvres required for measuring in- and expiratory reserve capacity, quasi-static and dynamic compliance, and airway resistance. In combination with a mass spectrometer for monitoring gas concentrations, single-breath manoeuvres were performed and He-expirograms obtained, from which dead space volume and slope of phase III were determined. From each strain and each sex, 10, 2-month old animals were studied immediately after being killed by an intraperitoneal overdose of xylazine and ketamine. C3HeB/FeJ and C57BL/6 exhibited comparable lung volumes. In male C3HeB/FeJ mice, e.g. vital capacity (VC) was 1072 +/- 79 microL, inspiratory reserve capacity 782 +/- 88 microL, and dead space volume at total lung inflation 216 +/- 18 microL. Lung volumes of JF1 were significantly lower (e.g. VC 611 +/- 53 microL, P < 0.01) even when normalized to body weight. In all three strains, specific lung volumes were significantly higher in females than in males, possibly explained by a higher oxygen demand during pregnancy and lactation, both of which fill most of their life times. Static compliance in C3HeB/FeJ was 64.3 +/- 5.4 microL cmH2O-1. It was smaller in C57BL/6 and JF1 mice, even when related to the lung volume. Analysis of the degree of genetic vs. non-genetic components of the phenotypic variation revealed that at least 80% of the total variation of lung volumes and static compliance in the mixed population is attributable to genetic differences between individuals. These differences will be verified in further studies by segregation and genetic linkage analysis. [less ▲]

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